The Association agreement between Ukraine and the EU: what does it mean
On Tuesday the upper house of the Dutch Parliament approved the ratification of the Association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.
What is the meaning of this document and that will change for Ukraine?
The Netherlands was the last country in the EU that had not ratified the agreement because of last year’s referendum in which the Dutch said “no” to EU Association with Ukraine.
But despite the results of the plebiscite, the government supported the agreement in December 2016, and the lower chamber of Parliament in February 2017.
When the agreement will come into force?
The agreement must be finally ratified by the government of the Netherlands, after which it must be signed by the king Willem-Alexander.
Following this, the Netherlands will transmit the instruments of ratification in the EU and on the first day of the following month the Association agreement between Ukraine and the EU should enter into force.
As experts predict, the agreement must be set up no later than August 1, 2017.
What is the meaning of this agreement?
The Association agreement with the EU regulates the gradual economic and political rapprochement between Ukraine and the EU.
The first sections deal with General principles, political dialogue and reforms, convergence of foreign and security policy and of justice.
Key in this are the sections on trade and economic cooperation.
They suggest the creation of a free trade area against which back in 2013 was Russia.
The goal of creating a free trade area, liberalization of mutual access to markets of goods and services, as well as harmonization of Ukrainian rules and regulations with EU standards.
Ukraine, like other countries, decided on Association with the European Union must conform to EU standards, its legislation and to take measures to improve the investment climate.
That changed with the ratification of this document?
Ratification of the Convention is primarily a political and legal solution.
Most of its sections began to temporarily operate from 1 November 2014, and the economic section — from 1 January 2016.
At the same time was significantly reduced or abolished duties and tariffs on most goods in mutual trade, while many important products are saved quota.
Now the implementation of the agreement greatly accelerated, and the EU will get additional control mechanisms the performance of its Ukraine.
What does all this mean for Ukraine?
The Association agreement contains specific deadlines and required actions of the parties — from tariff reductions to the adoption of the necessary laws and regulations.
From the moment of entry into force, the countdown will start all the contract obligations of the parties, fallen under the temporary mechanism.
Most importantly — there will be a legally binding deadlines of the agreement.
The parties will no longer be able to justify the lack or delay of reforms because the agreement does not apply in full.
The entry into force of a formal agreement, most likely, will tighten control by the EU over its implementation of the Ukraine.
Ratification would also give the start to many bureaucratic processes of coordination, monitoring and joint decision-making.
Why oppose this agreement was made by Russia?
Russian authorities feared from the beginning that cheap and quality European products overwhelm Ukraine, and if she will remain a member of the free trade area of the CIS, under the guise of Ukrainian products are exported to Russia duty-free.
Opponents of such concerns pointed to the fact that the Russian-Ukrainian border will be checked by customs, which should prevent the illegal re-export.
Russia suspended from January 1, 2016 the agreement on free trade zone with Ukraine, but there is another concern: the Association agreement of Ukraine with the EU can virtually close the Ukrainian market for a considerable part of Russian products.
For two years, Ukraine must implement the technical standards of the European Union in which goods from Russia do not always correspond.
However, in 2015, the European Commission noted that for many categories of Ukraine have already switched to these standards, and no Russian company complained about problems with exports in the new environment.
And finally, it is feared in Russia, the removal of trade barriers between the EU and Ukraine means a total reorientation of demand for the products of each other. Russia as a trading partner in this case is in the way.